I was reviewing my blog notes for inspiration, and came across some things that I had written up for the Singer’s Journey course I took in 2021. I’ve drawn from these before, most recently in What’s on Your Life Playlist?, in which I looked at music that influenced my life.
Today I want to talk about a couple of the personal victories I’ve had in my life (so far) that completely changed the direction of my life.
- When I moved to DC the first time, my ex-husband talked me up to people he worked with as being this great opera singer. I had done a few operas but my vocal technique was in terrible shape. I had studied with a teacher in Wisconsin who wasn’t the right fit for me and I was just not singing well. Well, someone he spoke to knew someone at Washington Opera and they called ME to invite me to do an audition. I didn’t know what to do! Do I turn it down? Maybe I’m not as bad as I think? I had a lesson set up the day before my audition with a new teacher (Marianna Busching) but I really only had one aria that was even semi-passable.Well, I was as bad as I thought. I got through to the end and Martin Feinstein (the then-artistic director) got up and left. Ed Purrington (the managing director) spoke to me and said, “There’s a voice in there, but you need a good teacher.” I told him that I’d just started working with someone (again, literally the day before the audition), and he said she was a good choice and he looked forward to hearing me again.
A year later, I auditioned again and got into the chorus of La Forza del Destino. During the initial rehearsals, they held auditions for a chorus bit. I auditioned – not knowing it paid extra, just thought it be fun to do, and figuring I didn’t have a chance – and got it! I wound up singing with them for 7 seasons, doing the big shows, the smaller ones that were a little more musically demanding, chorus bits, solo bits, and finally a supporting role in the world premiere of Dream of Valentino. (And now I’m singing with them again!)
- After moving back to MKE (and thinking all that DC/Baltimore work and the Peabody MM (also the result of studying with Marianna in the first place) would result in my being Mezzo Queen of the Midwest), I found myself doing a fraction of the work I’d done in the preceding nine years out east. I was supposed to do Augusta in a production of The Ballad of Baby Doe and the performance fell through. [That’s another story – it was actually much more convoluted than just that.] On the day I found out about it falling through, I realized it was the deadline for the NATS Intern Program. I quickly pulled together materials and sent them off just in time to make the deadline. Again, I didn’t think I had a chance – they only chose 12 people, and I was a private teacher, and most of the people they chose at that time were college-affiliated. About 2 weeks later, I received a letter inviting me to participate. It was the best thing I ever did at that point. I had the chance to learn from great teachers and to prove to myself that I was good at this!!